A canopy of white ash trees greets cyclists riding into Armstrong.

A canopy of white ash trees greets cyclists riding into Armstrong.

Fall is ideal for cycling

September and October are two of the best months for cycling in the North Okanagan

  • Sep. 9, 2015 5:00 p.m.


Special to The Morning Star

September and October are two of the best months for cycling in the North Okanagan. With many sunny days, temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 degrees C, and back roads free of summer traffic, it’s a great time to explore on two wheels. A favourite bike ride for us is to Armstrong via Otter Lake Road then returning the same way or via Pleasant Valley Road and Otter Lake X Road.

When our bike legs are stronger, we bike from home along Old Kamloops Road, about a 60 km trip. But earlier in the season we’ll load our bikes onto our car. The best choices for parking are either Spallumcheen Golf Course or O’Keefe Ranch, with permission. We take St Anne’s Road north, staying on Otter Lake Road which veers off to the right. An earthy aroma confirms we are in agricultural country. At about three km we pass Victoria Place RV Bed and Breakfast on a farm which was established in 1886. Across the road orderly rows of pink Echinacea fill a field.

Otter Lake catches the morning light on our right and the road begins to climb. We stop at the shaded T intersection of Grandview Flats Road to guzzle some water and then point our bikes downhill. We streak past a small pull-out and a picnic table at the edge of Otter Lake.

To the left, past Otter Lake Cross Road, is MacDonald Road, a steep road to the west and perched up it is a yellow Scandinavian-style house. This is the home of Country Home Antiques specializing in vintage Scandinavian furnishing, open by appointment only (call Eva Laarson at 250-546-2529 or 546-0434). I confess I have only visited here when I’ve gone by car. The hill is steep plus you might find something to buy!

Soon we are riding under the wide canopy of white ash trees that line the road until the intersection of Wood Avenue. On Pleasant Valley Road we stop at the Brown Derby Cafe and order the Great Breakfast Special. We dig into our sausage, eggs and pan-browned potatoes unconcerned about the wobbly outside plastic table and mixed cutlery. A plaque beside the door tells us this is a historical building built in 1892 that was owned by the son of Overlanders that settled the area in 1862.

Farther down the street we stop in at Chocoliro where Swiss chocolate is hand-molded, and enthusiastically try some samples. Then on Smith Drive, just west of Highway 97, we visit the Village Cheese Company, part restaurant, gift store and cheese factory. We taste samples of artisan cheese: wild smoked salmon cheddar, Canadian maple cheddar, horse-radish cheddar and, my favourite, Gewurztraminer-ripened soft cheese.

It is a slow uphill ride south on Pleasant Valley Road out of Armstrong. We pass the Olde Schoolhouse. Built in 1884, this one-room schoolhouse served the settler families for almost 40 years. Now, during the summer, it opens for coffee, tea or lunch, served on fine china. It’s best to check ahead for hours by calling owner Shelia Luniw at 250-546 9190.

We pass Good’N Plenty market garden  before turning right onto Crozier Road. The next right puts us onto Otter Lake X Road and we coast down some undulating hills before coming to Otter Lake Road. We now retrace our path up a steep hill, past Otter Lake and south on St. Anne’s Road.

The entire trip clocks in at 33 (only about 24 km if you go to and from via Otter Lake Road). That’s what we call a good bike ride!

Moira McColl is a freelance writer and cycling enthusiast in Vernon. This is part of her Urban Wanderer series on cycling in the area, with the hope that it will encourage locals and visitors alike to explore the North Okanagan on two wheels.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

(Vernon Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Vernon Search and Rescue responds after family gets UTV stuck on SilverStar trails

The family activated their SOS beacon around 3 p.m. once they realized they could be facing a night alone in the mountains

Vernon’s Heron Grove retirement facility. (Good Samaritan Society photo)
Resident of Vernon’s Heron Grove retirement home tests positive for COVID-19

Interior Health has not declared an outbreak at the facility

Dastkar, a new furniture store in Vernon, features handmade, unique furniture carved from wood and inlaid with brass in the Chiniot style. The business located on 43rd Avenue was started in December 2020 but is currently unstaffed due to COVID-19 staffing shortages. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Vernon’s hidden handmade furniture store

Owners of Shahi Pakwan Indian restaurant opened the South Asian furniture store in December 2020

When people talk about Blue Monday, they really mean Seasonal Affective Disorder, according to CMHA Kelowna. (Pixabay)
CMHA Kelowna offers tips for managing winter blues during COVID-19

CMHA says it’s important to take care of mental well-being during these times

(RCMP file photo)
Arrest made for break-in to the Penticton Herald

Police arrived to see blanket-wearing man holding computers

Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons was appointed to the NDP cabinet as minister of social development and poverty reduction after the October 2020 B.C. election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. job training fund increased for developmentally disabled

COVID-19 has affected 1,100 ‘precariously employed’ people

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Kelowna church fined a second time for violating public health order

Harvest Ministries in Kelowna has previously said they will fight the tickets in court

Okanagan Forest Task Force clean up took place on May 9 along Postill Lake Road. (Okanagan Forest Task Force)
Okanagan cleanup taskforce gears up for new year

The crew assisted in getting about 60 illegal dumpers ticketed

Bastion Elementary was open Monday, Jan. 17, after one case of COVID-19 was confirmed among the school community. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
COVID-19 case confirmed at second Salmon Arm elementary school

Member of Bastion Elementary community self-isolating, students allowed to attend school

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

2nd in-school violence incident in Mission, B.C, ends in arrest

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

Most Read